On Nov. 10, 2020 the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in California v. Texas (known as Texas v. Azar in the lower courts). The Justices will rule on whether or not the individual mandate is constitutional without the existence of a tax penalty and whether the mandate is severable from the rest of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Questions asked by the Justices during the oral arguments focused on these two points as well as questioning whether the plaintiffs had standing to bring suit. The most encouraging line of questioning focused on severability, which will determine whether the remaining provisions of the ACA (either in part or in whole) could remain if the mandate is deemed unconstitutional. Both Chief Justice Roberts (who pointed to “compelling evidence” of Congress’s intent to leave the ACA intact) and Justice Kavanaugh (who deemed the severability inquiry “straightforward” and “fairly clear”) appeared reluctant to strike down any provisions of the ACA other than perhaps the mandate itself. A ruling is not expected until spring 2021. The ACA remains in effect while the litigation is pending.
For more information on the history of this case, read the Informed on Reform Evolving Health Care Landscape page